Understanding IAS 32 – A guide for business owners


Accounting standards that impact businesses’ financial reporting are prone to the odd reshuffle every now and then, so it is important for business owners to stay informed.

One such standard is International Accounting Standard 32 (IAS 32), which plays a key role in how you present financial instruments in your annual accounts.

With the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) proposing changes to this standard, it is more important to understand what IAS 32 is and how it might affect your business.

What is IAS 32?

IAS 32 deals with the presentation of financial instruments. It sets out the guidelines for how a company should distinguish between debt instruments (liabilities) and equity instruments.

This distinction is vital because it directly impacts how your company’s financial position and performance are portrayed.

Key considerations for business owners

It is valuable to understand whether your financial instruments are liabilities or equity. This affects your balance sheet and overall financial health portrayal.

The classification influences key financial metrics, such as debt-to-equity ratio, which are crucial for investors and lenders.

Accurate classification ensures transparency in your financial reporting, making it easier for investors to compare your business with others.

Proposed changes by the IASB

The IASB is consulting on amendments to IAS 32 to address challenges arising from the evolution and increasing complexity of financial instruments.

These changes aim to enhance transparency and comparability in financial reporting. The deadline for comments on the proposals is 29 March 2024.

The proposed amendments include:

Implications for your business

With the proposed changes, you may need to reassess how your financial instruments are classified under the new guidelines.

Be prepared to provide more detailed information about your financial instruments in your financial statements.

These changes could also affect how your financial health is perceived by investors and stakeholders.

Preparing for the changes

Stay informed – Keep up to date with the progress of these proposed changes and understand their implications.

Plan ahead – Start considering how you will implement the necessary changes in your financial reporting processes.

Engage with the process – consider providing feedback to the IASB during the consultation period, especially if the changes will significantly impact your business.

The proposed changes to IAS 32 are a significant step towards greater transparency and comparability in financial reporting.

As a business owner you should fully understand these changes and prepare for their impact on your financial statements.

If you would like to know more about how the proposed changes to IAS 32 will affect your business, or if you would like any guidance on current accounting standards, please contact us today for expert advice.